Precious stone jeweller Billy Dlamini has always been passionate about his business. Since his teenage years, he's spent most of his time teaching himself how to perfect his craft and now his business is growing in ways he'd never imagined.
Billy (43), who grew up in Klaarwater in Pinetown, says that crafting jewellery is his number one love, as he gets to connect with his customers on a personal level as he responds to their special requests on everything from engagement and wedding rings, pendants, earrings, and bracelets.
“I have always been passionate about jewellery since high school. I started selling ordinary jewellery but then I decided to start manufacturing my own pieces. I bought equipment and taught myself how to craft the jewellery and eventually registered my company,” he tells Drum.
“I grew up in the late 90’s and jewellery was loved a lot by people. When I was a child, I was inspired by people who wore it and I thought to myself that I would be one of the best jewellers in South Africa."
Billy says that being self-taught has come with its struggles but through dedication, he's managed to become a great jewellery designer and he's upgraded his equipment as his business has advanced. He also has two qualified designers working with him.
Billdore Jewellery is a registered company that produces jewellery from precious stones at affordable prices. Billy's business has earned him customers from all over the world and he aims for even more international acclaim.
“I advertise myself through social media because money for advertising is expensive. I am proud of the growth of my company because there aren’t many black people in this industry. Jewellery is luxury and I love luxury.
“I had to work very hard to gain my customers trust as a black man from the township, especially because I am working with things such as gold and diamonds. It’s a tough industry but we need more black people in it. People who want to enter the industry should not give up – they should always push forward.”
Billy is a father to two boys, and he enjoys spending time with his family. His wife, Adore Dlamini, is also his business partner.
One of his favourite things to make is a ring, as it makes him feel like he is a part of the love shared between two people who are either getting engaged or married.
“A ring is a very important thing in one’s life. It also unites two people and that’s why I take ring making so personally. Couples come to me before they even go to a pastor,” he jokes.
Like many businesses, Billdore Jewellery has been affected heavily by Covid-19 and he's had to postpone some of his overseas business trips.
“I was supposed to go to New York last year in August but I couldn’t because of Covid-19. I want to cater to my clients who are in the United Stated and in the UK but because of Covid-19 everything has been a bit challenging. I hope next year things will be better so I can continue with business but it has been doing well, even in these times. Some businesses have closed and I’m still operating, so I am grateful."